Question Total beginner looking for advice for first hi-fi purchase

Youngsoulrebel

Active member
Dec 9, 2021
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Hello,

I'm looking at purchasing my first hi-fi set up and wanted to reach out for some expert advice. I'm a music fan above all else and I'm looking for a set up that will sound great with the minimal amount of set up and after care. I live in quite a populated area with neighbours attached on all sides so I really want a system that is capable of producing a nice quality of sound on quite low volumes

My budget is around £800 for a turntable, amp and some bookshelf speakers. I've got my eye on the pro-ject debut carbon evo as I've seen a lot of videos that seem to suggest it's a turntable you won't need to upgrade for a long while at reasonable price, but I'm wary this doesn't leave an awful lot in the budget for amp & speakers. With the speakers, the Q Acoustics range look like they'd be a good fit for the size room and my price range, but I'm a bit confused about what I should even be looking for in an amp.

As I said, I'm a complete novice, barring some DJ decks I had in my late teens so would be genuinely appreciative of any advice people may have.

Many thanks in advance to any repliers.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Hopefully you've already got a substantial vinyl collection.
Otherwise, at today's rip-off prices, it won't take long to match your £800 budget just buying vinyl.
Speakers (and their interaction with your room) will have the greatest influence on your sound.
Get some more brands / models on your shortlist - and whatever recommendations you get, make sure you listen first (preferably with a home loan).
Think about what other inputs you might want on your amplifier in the future....
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Hello,

I'm looking at purchasing my first hi-fi set up and wanted to reach out for some expert advice. I'm a music fan above all else and I'm looking for a set up that will sound great with the minimal amount of set up and after care. I live in quite a populated area with neighbours attached on all sides so I really want a system that is capable of producing a nice quality of sound on quite low volumes

My budget is around £800 for a turntable, amp and some bookshelf speakers. I've got my eye on the pro-ject debut carbon evo as I've seen a lot of videos that seem to suggest it's a turntable you won't need to upgrade for a long while at reasonable price, but I'm wary this doesn't leave an awful lot in the budget for amp & speakers. With the speakers, the Q Acoustics range look like they'd be a good fit for the size room and my price range, but I'm a bit confused about what I should even be looking for in an amp.

As I said, I'm a complete novice, barring some DJ decks I had in my late teens so would be genuinely appreciative of any advice people may have.

Many thanks in advance to any repliers.
Welcome to the mad house...
Both the Pro-ject and Q Acoustics are very good choices. However, there's a real plethora of different brands that make cracking components. Therein lies the problems: they all have their own individual presentation, and we all have our own tastes.
If you can demo as many bits of kit that'll be ideal.
If you can't demo for whatever reason then buy the Q Acoustics & Pro-ject with either a used Arcam amp from the older DIVA range. Something like Arcam A65 Plus. It's great at low volumes.
You'll need to budget for speaker stands & copper cables for speakers.
 

Youngsoulrebel

Active member
Dec 9, 2021
12
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25
Thanks all.

Consensus seems to be to make sure to listen in advance, which rather madly I'd not considered in the slightest and was planning on just buying online.

Vinyl collection is pretty substantial, much to wives annoyance I've made a habit of regularly buying even without anything to listen to them on with the view to eventually setting myself up properly.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Thanks all.

Consensus seems to be to make sure to listen in advance, which rather madly I'd not considered in the slightest and was planning on just buying online.

Vinyl collection is pretty substantial, much to wives annoyance I've made a habit of regularly buying even without anything to listen to them on with the view to eventually setting myself up properly.
It's always safer to demo. If you buy from the internet it's wise to make sure the dealer offers a Returns policy, in case it doesn't suit your taste or room
 
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Youngsoulrebel

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Dec 9, 2021
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Quick question on an earlier point you made if possible...

You mentioned getting speaker stands, I've got a large shelving unit, mid century with loads of spaces which looks purpose built to house a stereo and speakers, and was definitely intending on housing the speakers in this unit as I don't really have the space for them to be free standing, is this something you'd categorically advise against?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Quick question on an earlier point you made if possible...

You mentioned getting speaker stands, I've got a large shelving unit, mid century with loads of spaces which looks purpose built to house a stereo and speakers, and was definitely intending on housing the speakers in this unit as I don't really have the space for them to be free standing, is this something you'd categorically advise against?
You will never hear your system will fully do without dedicated stands. Nearly all speakers, unless they are a sealed box, have either front or rear ports. They are designed to move air so that the cones (drivers) bounce easier.
If you don't have room for stands then you can purchase wall brackets. Not as good as stands but better than shelving
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
You will never hear your system will fully do without dedicated stands. Nearly all speakers, unless they are a sealed box, have either front or rear ports. They are designed to move air so that the cones (drivers) bounce easier.
If you don't have room for stands then you can purchase wall brackets. Not as good as stands but better than shelving
Just to explain why dedicated stands are the only way to hear your system at it's best.

When these speaker boffins start designing, the speaker, regardless of cost, is designed to convey the sound to optimise the sound quality. That is, in the main, the tweeter, when sitting on the average chair, should be roughly at eye level. As speakers are different sizes, the stands come in various heights. The most common sizes are around either 500mm or 600mm. That's why if you go into a pub or restaurant their speakers are usually high up on the wall... sound a bit pants.

In addition, dedicated stands are designed to minimize any unwanted noise from the resting surface, and allows the speaker to really sing.

On a shelf you're unlikely to have them at the exact height...and the speaker will be too close to the wall. You can buy dedicated wall speakers but aren't cheap.
 
Last edited:
Quick question on an earlier point you made if possible...

You mentioned getting speaker stands, I've got a large shelving unit, mid century with loads of spaces which looks purpose built to house a stereo and speakers, and was definitely intending on housing the speakers in this unit as I don't really have the space for them to be free standing, is this something you'd categorically advise against?
Yes, if you want to hear the speakers to their full potential.
Apologies, just seen the post above which basically says it all..
 
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By my reckoning the Evo is around £500 so by the time you add some decent speakers you don't have much left for the amp, unless you intend to buy everything second hand.
or you could buy a bundle such as this:)
 
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Youngsoulrebel

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Dec 9, 2021
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By my reckoning the Evo is around £500 so by the time you add some decent speakers you don't have much left for the amp, unless you intend to buy everything second hand.
or you could buy a bundle such as this:)
I'll be honest I'd dismissed the Juke box as I think it's a little ugly and I'm almost as hung up on the aesthetic appeal as the sound quality (sorry), looking at some of the packages available though it might be worth considering given my budget. Is it a product you've seen/heard in action?

My general plan was to buy the turntable and speakers new and look for a better quality than I can afford amp second hand as there seems to be a glut of them on eBay.

I fear I'm a bit stuck with the speakers having to go on the shelves for the time being, they are very deep and open backed and have shelves on multiple levels so should be able to position them at almost the correct height, this will have to suffice until I'm able to move to somewhere with more space.

Thanks again for the replies/advice to my OP!
 

Youngsoulrebel

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Dec 9, 2021
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Attached a photo of the shelves for reference (excuse the clutter). It's two separate units side by side so plan was to have speakers on one in different sections and the turntable/amp on the other unit.
 

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Gray

Well-known member
Attached a photo of the shelves for reference (excuse the clutter). It's two separate units side by side so plan was to have speakers on one in different sections and the turntable/amp on the other unit.
That calls for genuine 'bookshelf' speakers.
Trouble is, any such speaker is bookshelf in name only really.
If anyone knows of a small speaker that doesn't sound better on a stand......
 

Youngsoulrebel

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Dec 9, 2021
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On further reflection I think it will be possible to position the speakers elsewhere in the room on stands, can run long cables around the skirting, probably been a bit narrow in my thinking and wanting to keep everything neatly tucked away on the shelves.

It was advice like this that prompted me to reach out so thanks again.
 
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Youngsoulrebel

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